TO CHALLENGE SECRECY LAWS TO FLY
November 24, 2004
1:10 AM Eastern
Former Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth-Hage has never run from a good fight. While a member of the House of Representatives [R-ID], she was known for her uncompromising principles and insistence that the U.S. Constitution be the guiding instrument of any and all legislation coming out of her office or when she cast a vote. She also gained enormous support from land owners for her efforts on their behalf regarding the actions against them by the federal government. (search)
Helen and her husband, Wayne Hage, who is a rancher and strong property rights advocate, have been embroiled in their own legal battle against the government regarding vested water rights, foraging and grazing allotments. (search). Ranchers and farmers like the Hage's have long complained that the federal government and their agencies are running amok, destroying their rights, their livelihoods and their lives.
Land rights isn't the only battle by this feisty former Congresswoman. Last month, Chenoweth-Hage did what millions of Americans routinely do - she got ready to board a United Airlines in Boise, Idaho, but was singled out by airline personnel for more in-depth screening which was to include a pat-down search for any weapons or contraband she might be trying to smuggle on board. Before submitting to this procedure, she requested a copy of the regulation which authorizes such an action against her person.
Seems like a reasonable request. However, the local Transportation Security Administration [TSA] director, Julian Gonzales said in an interview, "She said she wanted to see the regulation that required the additional procedure for secondary screening and she was told that she couldn't see it. She refused to go through additional screening [without seeing the regulation], and she was not allowed to fly. It's pretty simple."
This request by Chenoweth-Hage wasn't to see any internal documents for TSA regarding the screening of passengers, she only wanted to see the legal authorization for passenger pat-downs. According to Gonzales, she was denied this request, "Because we don't have to....That is called 'sensitive security information.' She's not allowed to see it, nor is anyone else," he said.
Constitutional hawks and average Americans are outraged by this type of secrecy and refusal by a government agency to show any American a law, rule or regulation when being asked to comply. Opponents of the entire "Homeland Security" operation have warned about this type of secrecy and move towards the destruction of natural rights. They complain that this huge blanket of secrecy and forcing Americans into acting against their will out of need or necessity (flying to a family funeral) is a deliberate attempt to change and manipulate the American people into falling lock step into total government control of their actions, their free will to travel and right to due process.
John Gilmore has become somewhat of a poster boy for standing up to government secrecy and his right to travel. (search). In 2002, after requesting to see the law which required him to show certain ID, he was refused and told that he had no right to see such a law. It is secret. Gilmore has sued and his case is making its way through the system. More and more Americans are refusing to fly for the same reasons as Chenoweth-Hage and Gilmore (search). Freedom advocates are now waiting on the decision by the courts regarding the outcome Gilmore's case which would have tremendous impact if he prevails.
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This request by Chenoweth-Hage wasn't to see any internal documents for TSA regarding the screening of passengers, she only wanted to see the legal authorization for passenger pat-downs. According to Gonzales, she was denied this request, "Because we don't have to....